little birdie

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Urban Gardening - My Inspiration.


When I started to plan our garden I had many ideas about what I wanted but very little knowledge as to how to do it. I watched endless shows on television and read many books, but I always came away feeling more clueless than before I started. And when I did attempt things and they failed, well it just made me feel even less than enthusiastic to the point of giving up.

Then one day I stumbled upon a gardener who spoke to me - she said it was okay to be an amateur and that we might all have failures as well as successes. That we could grow things in containers, in small spaces and in the city. Elspeth Thompson instantly became my garden heroine. She created an urban oasis in South London out of twenty square feet of concrete. A little haven of calm, stuffed full of all my favourite plants and herbs.



Elspeth wrote about her gardening journey in The Sunday Telegraph. Although I never read those articles in the newspaper, my favourite gardening book is a collection of those pieces, Urban Gardener, which documents three years in the life of growing in a small back garden and an allotment. It is a book I return to whenever I need to feel inspired to bring new life into my own little urban space. There are no pictures, only Elspeth's beautiful words and natural charm. It is my own personal gardening bible.

However, pictures of Elspeth's garden turned up in the gorgeous Paumes London Gardens book. It was everything I had imagined it to be, climbers racing up the walls and framing the doorway, large evergreens and ferns inspersed with pretty perennials. These images are ingrained in my memory and its how I dream my own city garden should look.


Through her books and her blog, Elspeth taught me about plants and how to garden in a small space. Sadly, Elspeth passed away in 2010. I, like many other of her readers, was extremely saddened by this news. But for me, her legacy will always live on through us amateur city gardeners. x

(Top image is from Elspeth Thomspon's website).